In the last two days before dying, many hospice patients cared for at home or in a nursing home were not seen by a doctor, nurse or social worker, a new study finds. The researchers found that one in eight Medicare patients didn't get such visits, especially if they were black, dying on a Sunday or were in a nursing home....Dr. Alexi Wright, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School in Boston, said that hospices are underfunded. It's the one area in medicine that is a per-diem service paid for by a fixed daily rate that must cover medications, equipment and clinical caregivers' salaries at a cost that's less than a single dose of chemotherapy, she said. "Families are often overwhelmed when losing a loved one and haunted by their final moments," Wright said. "This is too important a time to shortchange patients and their families. As this study shows, hospice payment reform is long overdue."
Many in Hospice Don't Get Medical Visit in Last 2 Days of Life